Petscop: 3D Fan Recre­ation

One of the strangest creep­y­pas­tas is be­ing brought to life

PC GAMER (UK) - - CONTENTS - Jon Calvin

Petscop3d con­tin­ues the tra­di­tion of its pro­gen­i­tor to cap­ti­vate and con­fuse

In March 2017 a video was up­loaded to YouTube ti­tled ‘Petscop’ with a de­scrip­tion that read, “The game I found.” Lit­tle did I know that what was shown would go on to be­come one of videogames’ great­est mys­ter­ies, one that would in­spire a small group of in­die de­vel­op­ers to recre­ate it.

For them, it all be­gan with that sin­gle anony­mous video up­load in which a mys­te­ri­ous nar­ra­tor, who would come to be known as Paul, dis­cusses a PlaySta­tion game he found. As he ex­plores this strange and un­fin­ished game, he finds and catches pets by solv­ing a se­ries of rudi­men­tary puz­zles. De­spite this in­nocu­ous be­gin­ning, it soon be­comes clear this isn’t your av­er­age game as things start to take a darker turn and Paul, fol­low­ing the in­struc­tions on an ac­com­pa­ny­ing note, finds a shad­owy un­der­world full of bizarre ref­er­ences and themes.

Over a year later and Petscop has be­come a hotly de­bated web se­ries with thou­sands of peo­ple around the world wad­ing in with pos­si­ble the­o­ries as to the game’s ori­gins and mean­ing. For one in­die game de­vel­oper, though, who goes by the name Bub­bleDerp, that wasn’t enough. “When I first watched Petscop I was in love,” says Bub­bleDerp. “I had won­dered if there were any recre­ations or stuff like that yet. The pre­vi­ous weeks I was mess­ing with 3D in GameMaker. I de­cided I had noth­ing bet­ter to do and why not make my own?”

Pets cop :3 D Fan Recre­ation was the re­sult of that de­ci­sion – a game that aims to sim­u­late the ex­pe­ri­ence of the web se­ries, of­fer­ing fans a chance to re­tread Paul’s foot­steps through the strange, eerie story. I have to ad­mit, it was a sur­real feel­ing to ac­tu­ally be play­ing Petscop. From the fa­mil­iar sounds of the PlaySta­tion startup se­quence, to the bright vi­su­als and cute sound­track, this is an authen­tic recre­ation. It was dif­fi­cult not to mir­ror the ac­tions of Paul, as I fol­lowed his trail through the first level catch­ing pets as I ex­plored.

It’s widely ac­cepted that Petscop is not a real game, in that it was never de­vel­oped back in the ’90s with the in­ten­tion of be­ing re­leased on the PlaySta­tion. As Bub­bleDerp tells me: “There is a lot of things that a PlaySta­tion could not do, like the child li­brary where Paul’s move­ment is pre­dicted per­fectly and, well, cod­ing that onto PlaySta­tion hard­ware would be very hard, to say the least.”

Ur­ban Leg­end

It wasn’t long into the game un­til my knowl­edge of the se­ries was tested, as un­less you know what it says on the note that Paul got with the game, you can’t progress past the first build­ing. This note, along with a weird mes­sage about shadow mon­ster men, in­cludes de­tails of a code and where to en­ter it, at which point the mu­sic stops. An eerie si­lence de­scended around me. In that mo­ment I re­alised Petscop hadn’t lost any of its claus­tro­pho­bic at­mos­phere in its tran­si­tion to videogame form. Much like other in­ter­net folk­lore, such as Slen­der­man, Petscop’s jour­ney into re­al­ity from the ob­scure mes­sage boards that prop­a­gated it in­creased rather than de­creased its po­tency.

Petscop3D con­tin­ues the tra­di­tion of its pro­gen­i­tor to cap­ti­vate and con­fuse. The biggest ques­tion re­mains, though: how will the game end? “I have not thought about how the game will end,” says Bub­bleDerp. “I feel like we are get­ting close, how­ever.” Truth is, no­body knows when or how Petscop will end, mean­ing Petscop:3DFanRe­cre­ation is in­ter­twined in that fate and com­mit­ted to a jour­ney that, hope­fully, leads to the an­swers every­one seeks.

The game sees you catch­ing ‘pets’.

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